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What Is Fasting Therapy?

By Jackie Myers
Updated May 17, 2024
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Fasting therapy involves avoiding all solid food and ingesting only liquids. It can be used as a treatment for over-nutrition and other disorders. Benefits include ridding the body of metabolic wastes, losing weight, and improving mental clarity. Nutrition experts do not recommend prolonged periods of fasting due to certain health risks, and certain individuals should never undertake fasting therapy. Individuals should consult with a physician before beginning any new diet or fasting program.

During fasting therapy, a person abstains from eating foods for a short period so that the body can rely on its own nutrition reserves. Specialists who oversee nutrition during this period are referred to as fasting therapists. The strictest type of fasting allows intake of water only, but most fasting therapy participants consume drinks made from fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamin and essential fatty acid supplements can be taken to ensure that nutritional requirements are met during a fast.

Over-nutrition is a condition which causes people to become morbidly obese. People with this problem have an excess of nutrients flowing through their body. Fasting can help those with this problem to limit their intake of food. Research also indicates that therapeutic fasting solves many problems with both acute and chronic diseases. Tissues are purified during a fasting diet.

In addition to helping the body achieve homeostasis, or balance, fasting therapy has several health benefits. Participants in a fasting diet note improvements in their cardiovascular health. Asthma sufferers experience less discomfort while limiting solid food intake, and other ailments, including rheumatoid arthritis and high blood pressure, improve during a fast.

Nutrition experts recommend that those interested in fasting therapy not do it without the help of a specialist as many risks are associated with unsupervised therapy. Long periods of fasting, without the proper nutrients, forces the body into dietary aceto-ketosis. Muscles slowly begin to break down instead of fat — a process that can lead to heart failure.

Fasting may not be safe for everyone as not everyone reacts the same way to limiting food intake. Under no circumstances should diabetics begin a fasting diet without consulting with their doctor. Diabetics have a greater chance of developing complications during a fast due to their high blood sugar levels and the medications they often take. Likewise, experts recommend that neither growing children nor pregnant women engage in fasting therapy.

Participants in fasting are limiting the number of calories they receive and become tired easily. They should have easy access to a comfortable resting area where they can rest as they adjust to the diet. It is also best that dieters not to participate in strenuous exercise during a fasting diet.

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